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shimpiphany
07-31-2009, 07:07 PM
it all seemed to be coming together, i felt like i was making great progress, and then i videotaped myself playing and i sound like crap. it is very discouraging.

how do you stay motivated during those plateau times in the learning process, and more importantly, how do you break through?

Brad Bordessa
07-31-2009, 07:30 PM
it all seemed to be coming together, i felt like i was making great progress, and then i videotaped myself playing and i sound like crap. it is very discouraging.

Bingo! It happens to me quite a bit. Especially after hearing or seeing some phenomenal feat of music. It's so inspiring, but at the same time you think "How the heck am I going to get that good?" and it will seem like it's never going to happen.

It usually comes and goes. Depending on how inspired I feel, sometimes I play all week, sometimes not at all - I don't force myself.

Getting beyond is the hard part. Even if you are stuck, you might as well keep playing if you are enjoying it, because when you get out of the rut you will have not missed out on potential "fingerboard miles".

There is no right way to get out of a rut. Watch a video, go to a concert, put your 'ukulele down for a week, something is bound to lift you up.

To get beyond thinking about "boy I suck worse than I thought!" (we all have those moments) you should try and learn something. Instead of just watching a video, try and learn from it. If you can learn one thing from every musical piece you hear, that is a lot of knowledge. What don't you know? Try and learn it. If you look, you will find things to work on.

Life is a journey. If we arrive at the destination things are going to get really boring. Same for music. Practice, practice.

Good luck.

CoLmes
07-31-2009, 07:58 PM
motivation comes from just wanting to be a better player. That's kind of how basketball was for me, I wanted to be good so I worked hard at it. Anything in life, what you give is what you get.

Jamming with everyone every night helps a lot too, my confidence has been boosted to just cut from a song and do some improv or just do it in a different way.

As far as what made me break through the plateau of getting better.. not really sure, just one day you play better the the last.. maybe a combo of different things that help you reach that point? not really sure on that one..

itsme
07-31-2009, 08:04 PM
You want to feel good about your playing? Go play at an old folks home. Call ahead to arrange it, you might get to play for an audience in the rec room on a Sunday afternoon. Then you might be able to visit some of those who couldn't make it to the rec room because they're bedridden.

You will see faces absolutely light up. There is no better way to spread some joy with your music.

Ahnko Honu
07-31-2009, 08:05 PM
and don't take yourself too seriously, playing the 'ukulele is fun and most people know that and appreciate any effort to post videos. :)

Dirka
07-31-2009, 08:40 PM
Buying a new uke usually helps :D

DeG
07-31-2009, 08:40 PM
post your video and get some second opinions...chances are you are going to be your own toughest critic...

ukulelearp
07-31-2009, 08:44 PM
I don't actually STAY motivated. Sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not. It's really just a matter of how much you want to improve. If you're happy with your playing(which it seems you're not) then you won't practice much. But if you always have a little further to go, you'll keep practicing. It helps that I have a brother who plays guitar, so we both like learning new things on our instruments.

SeanKy671
07-31-2009, 08:52 PM
Exactly!! My motivation is to have fun.. I look at others sometimes wishing I could be as good as them, but when I look back on how far I've gotten and just what I've accomplished, it makes me look at myself differently. I've already gotten to a skill level I never thought I'd reach, playing things I never thought I'd be able play.

You can't compare yourself to anyone else.. That's not what it's about.
It's about playing and enjoying yourself, whether it's jamming with friends, just messing around, passing the time, or simply playing to get better.

I tell myself, "Just keep doing what you're doing, and literallly before you know it, you'll be doing things you still wouldn't imagine."
Don't worry about HOW will I get that good. If you don't give up, the real question is WHEN.
Again.. have fun........ and think about it. :D

Citrus
07-31-2009, 10:02 PM
It is easy to get discouraged sometimes, especially if people are critical of your work. I've never been able to impress my father with my music, he just doesn't have a taste for uke at all. To me, when you come to those obstacles there's usually 2 options with a bunch of variations to it: Either try to surmount the obstacle, become better and build yourself up, or forget about it and find something where you feel you can make more progress.
I know I'm never going to get my father to like my uke music, but I've been able to find plenty of other people who love it, and I know I probably will never be as good as aldrine, shimabukuro, or the dominator, but I forget about trying to one up everybody and just try to learn from them and enjoy playing.

As for short term, non-philosophical ways to overcome those patches, I recommend branching out into something you've never thought about trying before, like a rap song, or some old 1930's song. It'll help you grow as a player and give you a new direction to try out.

HoldinCoffee
07-31-2009, 10:28 PM
Plateaus are part of the learning process. When that happens, whether its in athletics or in uku, you have to vary your practice routine. Stop doing the same thing over-and-over. In sports, if you run track, and your times plateau, its a good idea to get in the water and aqua-jog for an hour a few times a week. It works different muscles. In uku, same concept. Pick a new and interesting genre and explore that. You'll work new muscles with new chords, new strumming or picking patterns.

This may sound crazy, but "When you're about to hit the wall, SPEED UP!" You can quote me on that!:cheers:

Pippin
08-01-2009, 01:50 AM
My sole motivation is that I just simply love music and love making music. Yes, it's true, plateaus are part of the learning process.

So, when you reach that plateau, imagine yourself where you want to be musically, and after visualizing it, work toward playing the song you want or doing the technique you want and don't lose that vision. Just imagine it happening and keep that focus and you will get there. It worked for Olympians and cyclists.

ichadwick
08-01-2009, 02:15 AM
Simple:
Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. And have a glass of wine.

If you get discouraged or disgruntled, repeat the last step until your mood improves.

UkuLeLesReggAe
08-01-2009, 02:22 AM
buy a new ukulele, :)

BrotherUke
08-01-2009, 02:35 AM
My sole motivation is that I just simply love music and love making music. Yes, it's true, plateaus are part of the learning process.

So, when you reach that plateau, imagine yourself where you want to be musically, and after visualizing it, work toward playing the song you want or doing the technique you want and don't lose that vision. Just imagine it happening and keep that focus and you will get there. It worked for Olympians and cyclists.

Pippin,
This is great advice. My natural inclination is to look for shortcuts when it comes to difficult chords. That famous video of George Harrison playing "Ain't She Sweet" on his uke showed me how good properly played chords make a song sound. He was also so relaxed and fluid making chord changes. I know I will never be that good but visualizing how fluid a great player is helped motivate me to put the extra effort into using all four fingers on the harder chords. Now it's becoming second nature to me.

Pippin
08-01-2009, 02:40 AM
Pippin,
This is great advice. My natural inclination is to look for shortcuts when it comes to difficult chords. That famous video of George Harrison playing "Ain't She Sweet" on his uke showed me how good properly played chords make a song sound. He was also so relaxed and fluid making chord changes. I know I will never be that good but visualizing how fluid a great player is helped motivate me to put the extra effort into using all four fingers to on the harder chords. Now it's becoming second nature to me.

Thanks BrotherUke. My last book was called "Get Happy, Write Away" and was actually about visualization methods and achieving one's goals in life. I learned proper visualization techniques years ago in martial arts and have been using them ever since.

Skrik
08-01-2009, 03:21 AM
Gus knows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnGTV9vXicg

Read the text box for some handy hints. (I haven't been able to trace the first six lessons. My spider senses tell me he might be joshing with us.)

cornfedgroove
08-01-2009, 03:47 AM
haha, this is my curse of ADHD since I dont stay motivated. I've learned to cope with it this way:

Pro- I've focused on becoming jack of all trades and rotating to a different instrument.
Con- I've become master of none...and my rotation is pretty extensive.

leftovermagic84
08-01-2009, 03:53 AM
One of the things I do when I get fed up with sucking up a song is just switch to a different song. A few weeks later I'll eventually come back to it, and almost without fail, the practice on other songs has rubbed off a little, and I play the original song better than I was before. It may take me much longer to get songs down, but bouncing all over the place works for me. You just have to find out what works for you, but any way you approach it, you won't get better unless you're playing. :music:

Ukulele JJ
08-01-2009, 04:43 AM
I've been facing this same problem with my tennis playing.

I suck at tennis.

No, seriously... I'm the absolute worst. And this is a fact that is seemingly unaffected by how much I work at it.

And yeah, it gets frustrating. But you know what the key is? You have to be getting "something" out of the process that goes beyond being good at it.

In other words (and as others have mentioned already), you have to enjoy simply playing the ukulele (or hitting a fuzzy yellow ball back and forth, or whatever). Your primary reward has to come from the process itself--otherwise, why bother? This is true no matter what your skill level.

That's my opinion, anyway.

JJ

ProfChris
08-01-2009, 11:17 AM
1. Record yourself

2. Don't watch or listen to it

3. Six weeks later, record yourself again.

4. Watch or listen to both, and marvel at how much you've improved.

[If you've been playing for 20 years, make step 3 into years not weeks]

Ukuleleblues
08-01-2009, 11:31 AM
1. Record yourself

2. Don't watch or listen to it

3. Six weeks later, record yourself again.

4. Watch or listen to both, and marvel at how much you've improved.

[If you've been playing for 20 years, make step 3 into years not weeks]

I've had some times where I just think I suck, but now that I have a history of recordings I can realy tell I've gotten better. Look at it this way, some songs and things you try will suck. I can remember a few techniques I really thought sounded great, while I was playig them, until I heard them. You learn from them and adapt, thats what I like about music.

It's kind of like fishing, if everytime you casted you caught a fish it would get boring. You have to use your skill, brains and practice. When you record yourself and you suck (to you) just remember you are doing something alot of folks would not even try. It's a challenge to improve and adapt. Playing music is one of the few thing you do that utilizes all the parts of the brain. To me that feels great.

If you really get down on your playing go out somewhere in public and just start playing. Public parks are a great place to go. You watch the folks milling around afraid to approach you and finally someone will walk up and say something nice. It's worth it's weight in gold for motivation. Don't be so hard on yourself and have some fun, remember we are just visiting.

GX9901
08-01-2009, 03:46 PM
I'm simply motivated by playing the ukulele. It doesn't even matter if I'm any good or not. It does feel more rewarding to learn music I really enjoy though. I'd say seek out music that you enjoy and just keep playing until you get somewhere with it. Lesson books are nice but they usually don't have music that you really like. If you simply enjoy the act of playing the ukulele and keep trying to play stuff that you enjoy listening to, you'll get better at it before you know it.

shimpiphany
08-03-2009, 07:19 AM
thanks for indulging my whining - you all are right. its practice, variety and commitment. sometimes its just easier to get on the computer and complain than stick with the practice regime.

it is incredibly helpful, tho, to have a network like this to encourage me. thanks again!

freedive135
08-03-2009, 07:44 AM
thanks for indulging my whining - you all are right. its practice, variety and commitment. sometimes its just easier to get on the computer and complain than stick with the practice regime.

it is incredibly helpful, tho, to have a network like this to encourage me. thanks again!

Practice is a dirty word, my Uke Instructor told me
"If you practice you won't like playing so just play, but try to play better each time."

My motavation is the fun of the Ukulele.
Last night I went back to a song that was really hard for me 2 months ago Jumpin Jim's "I'm carring a tiki torch for you" it has lots of single strum chord changes and It was pretty easy for me.

Don't beat yourself up for not being Jake or Aldrine and just play for the fun of playing!!!!!!

berylbite
08-03-2009, 08:48 AM
Play things you enjoy playing alot, like fun songs and stuff. Wait out the doldrums.

hoosierhiver
08-03-2009, 08:51 AM
P.B.R. sometimes helps

berylbite
08-03-2009, 09:30 AM
also, watching awesome ukulele video's on youtube.

UkuleleHill
08-03-2009, 09:36 AM
Jamming with everyone every night helps a lot too, my confidence has been boosted to just cut from a song and do some improv or just do it in a different way.

This has been my biggest motivation recently... I have been on the forums but not practicing like I should be... Then we started the Mini Jams at night... I have practiced more now than I ever have. Its great because even if I screw something up there is still encouragement, and tips and tricks from other players.

One of the ways people become better is from learning from others. Here in the states, Ohio, Dayton to be exact... There aren't many others who play so me going somewhere to jam with other players would be tough... I can go to Cinci or Columbus. But thats a 1.5 hour drive... So yeah come on to the mini jams and just see what we are about. You don't have to join in the first time, or even the second time. But if you have questions someone will be sure to help you out!

UkuleleHill
08-03-2009, 09:37 AM
P.B.R. sometimes helps

Professional Bull Riding?

uber_goober
08-03-2009, 03:03 PM
To stay motivated I focus on how much fun I'm having. Honestly if you enjoy playing, that's all that matters. Keep your motivation by remembering your love of music. And while I do subscribe a bit to the idea that "video doesn't lie", I think it does a bit. Unless you have very high grade gear, the tone just isn't going to be there. And if you don't like the tone you are hearing, you usually aren't gong to like the music.

It's like the difference between playing your instrument acoustically in a quiet room and then plugging it in. Acoustically, the instrument sings. There's the subtle vibration that extends between notes. Once you plug it in, that's lost. You need to interject the illusion of the body ambiance with a touch of reverb (or at least that's how I deal with it).

Just enjoy playing. And if you're like me, I always play terribly when I'm being recorded. I just get way too self conscious because I know I'm trying to get everything right for the recording.

Hope that helps a bit,

-John

inkandsilver
08-04-2009, 08:40 PM
P.B.R. sometimes helps

I'd say always.

ichadwick
08-05-2009, 07:31 AM
P.B.R. sometimes helps
Post Bad Recordings?

HoldinCoffee
08-05-2009, 10:27 AM
Post Bad Recordings?

Patience, beer, and rest?

Melissa82
08-05-2009, 10:35 AM
I'm having a hard time staying motivated at times. I am trying to find songs I know the words to, but there seems to be none. When I do find one, there always seems to be some lame note I can't play, like Bm or Eflatm7 or something retarded like that.

I'm tired of playing Amazing Grace... bleh. Actually, I don't even know the words to that one either, lol.

BBcakes
08-05-2009, 11:11 AM
YouTube keeps me motivated. When I see a vid and hear the uke fit into the songs I like, makes me want to learn it and jam along. There are so many songs/genres that can be played, it's amazing. For me, it's just a matter of slowing down and learining bits at a time. Otherwise, I tend to get frustrated and move on to a new tune. :p